Following the murder of soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich, those in favour of the binned Communications Data Bill, known as the Snoopers’ Charter, have called for it to be reviewed.
Lord Carlisle, former Independent Reviewer of terrorism legislation said on BBC Newsnight on Wednesday night: “I hope that this [incident] will give the government pause for thought about their abandonment, for example, of the Communications Data Bill, and possibly pause for thought about converting control orders into what are now called TPIMs, with a diluted set of powers.”
The Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPIM) give the Home Secretary the power to impose strict control orders an individual, as has been the case with Abu Qadata.
Read Recombu Digital’s guide to the Communications Data BillSince Nick Clegg’s declaration that the Bill wouldn’t happen if the Liberal Democrats remained in government, many thought that Bill was done for. The Guardian reports that Lord John Reid, the former Labour home secretary, said that the Communications Data Bill was essential to defeating terrorism saying that “some huge tragedy” like this week’s events will happen again.
Campaign group Big Brother Watch, which has followed the development of the Bill closely, said in a blog post that:
“Lord Reid was one of those responsible for the knee-jerk decision to try and introduce powers for people to be detained for up to 90 days without trial by the last government, after the 7/7 attack. That should be a clear warning of the dangers of rushing forward policy changes when the nation is in shock and of those who seek to use the politics of fear.”
The Communications Data Bill would see ISPs keep records of who people spoke to and interacted with online and make this information available to security services upon request. Right now, this information can be collected, but police and investigators require a court order before they can begin.
Despite Clegg’s strident opposition to the Bill and it being dropped from this year’s Queen’s Speech, it’s understood that some form of communications monitoring bill will be proposed in the future.
Image credit: Cristiano Betta